WWW readers Craig and Ellie were determined to have a wedding day that was all about them as a couple, as well as their nearest and dearest. They chose Cantley House Hotel in Berkshire for the nuptials, which took place on 23rd April 2018 and they really had the most marvellously rustic and relaxed day.
The florals were really important to our pair, and they incorporated such gorgeous Juliette David Austin roses. I adore Ellie’s bountiful bouquet and just look at her amazing flower crown! Other brilliant details come courtesy of the classic yet rustic stationery and savoury fans will just love the towering cheese ‘cake’.
I really enjoyed reading about Ellie’s dress buying experience, it sounds like it was a magical time. She also has some great advice for you planning couples who might be feeling a bit bogged down with all the details, make sure you take in all her wise words!
Craig and Ellie’s wonderful images were captured by Ross Hurley, thank you ever so much for sharing the gorgeousness with us Ross!
We got engaged on Christmas Eve 2016, Craig was rather naughty but equally romantic and planned this fantastically lovely way of proposing with a personalised Emma Bridgewater Mug! I had finished a rather pants shift and came home in the evening to Craig who had popped the kettle on, not the gin and tonic I fancied but he was adamant I needed to have a coffee. Unbeknownst to me, his grand plan was to propose with this beautiful mug and a well-positioned ring in his back pocket!
We wanted to host something both beautifully romantic with an enormous nod to family and friends. Our vision surrounded a social and relaxed atmosphere with intricate sentimental details and this is what we both felt we created.
THE PLANNING PROCESS
The process seemed a rather seamless and easy process, shockingly! It was a collaborative effort and 15 months of careful planning, we were heavily reliant on friends and family even just for a calming guide.
Cantley House hotel is an enormous Victorian country house set in beautiful countryside. After realising that one of the biggest appeals to us was being able to have all of our family and friends with us to share our day we knew Cantley House would be perfect. We found its rustic charm and almost untamed manner something very alluring, the appeal of the barn which its beautiful beams drew us in and the space to make it what we wanted just seemed perfect.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES
I wore a Laure de Sagazan dress named Ruiz. The moment I started flicking through Laure de Sagazan’s designs I fell instantly in love. It was made of the most beautiful silk material and the lace hem was something that made Mummy and I booth swoon. I loved the low back and the fit was just so comfortable. It was important to find a manageable pair of shoes but something pretty, so I found a beautiful pair of low kitten heels in Reiss.
FINDING THE DRESS
I found my perfect dress in the Mews, Clifton. I was so amazed to find something somewhere so beautiful literally on my parents’ front door step and the whole experience I could not fault. The girlies in the Mews were just so very welcoming, helpful and incredibly experienced. I found it so very lovely that the girlie who helped me choose my dress followed my journey with me and handed my dress to me at the end moment. Such a personal touch, was so very lovely to find. The whole boutique was mine and Mum’s from the off and it was just such a lovely and unexpected touch.
Craig has been a longstanding fan of tweed and this was what was so important to the him and the groomsmen. He wanted to stand out and be a little different from the ushers so he found a tan tweed suit with maroon accessories and the groomsmen continued with the tweed but only a slight subtle hint in navy blue.
THE READINGS & MUSIC
We were lucky enough to have two willing readers. My little brother and my best friend (secret maid of honour) who both were incredibly important to our wedding process and their readings reflected this. We needed to have a biblical reading and we chose a passage from 1 Corinthians as the words were just so beautiful and captureed our connection. Will, my brother, was tasked with reading an extract from Victor Hugo’s, “Les Mis,” the words felt very true to us and resonated with our relationship and family connection.
Our first dance was Keep Me in Mind by Zac Brown, prior to being together, it is the song that Craig always said reminded him of me. We love the words of the song and feel it sums up a point in our lives when we very nearly could be together but not quite!
BEAUTIFUL FLOWER GIRLS
I always wanted to ensure the girlies were dressed in the peachy accents of the flowers and being 5 and 11 I know this would look fantastically pretty and suit them. As they were such little ladies dresses were hard to find however after extensive searching we found some beautiful dresses in Ghost London. We made the decision online however after the first trying on together we knew they were perfect. I must say they both looked incredibly beautiful and I was so proud to have them follow me down the aisle.
Our flowers were arranged by the incredibly talented and fantastically creative Linz at the White Horse Flower Company. I was so passionate about the flowers and they became such an integral part of our vision and our day. From day one Linz completely understood the need for something naturally abundant, seasonal and with her skill and talent we were able to trust in mother nature implicitly. The one thread Linz picked up on was the idea of Juliette David Austin roses which allowed her to put peachy accents throughout. The concept of seasonal and beautiful foliage was not only captured in the bouquets but also my beautifully created flower crown. Utterly perfect.
Craig and I hated the idea of a “normal” wedding cake as neither of us are particularly sweet treat fans. So we decided upon the idea of a mammoth cheese cake, with yes, real cheese! We found a Deli in Nottingham, Delilah’s and spent the morning nibbling on the best British produce before creating a five tiered cheese mountain! Everyone loved the idea of this alternative and guests seemed to position themselves in order to help themselves for more!
However we did decide that we needed to offer a sweet option as we understood cheese was not everyone’s fave thing! We both decided a selection of sweet nibbles would be delish and suit everyone’s taste, something simple and just a little addition. But when we met Ellie at Milkstreet Kitchen her vision and fantastically delicious treats became a centrepiece. Meeting such a creative and passionate person led us to pick a Pop-up Patisserie, incorporating yummy macaroons, cupcakes and choux bun with the most scrummy fillings and flavours and vibrant colours. I must say I stationed myself next to the stand and secretly kept reaching for a mouthful!
Our photographer was Ross Hurley and we could not recommend him enough. We instantly fell in love with his candid style and how he captured such special moments but his professionalism, expert knowledge and the fact he was truly a top chap was not something we also accounted for! He described himself as a ninja in the build up to the wedding and he most certainly was, he found such fantastic memories before they even happened and captured them with such an ease and talent. I must say we had an engagement shoot with him prior to the day and it was the best thing and something we total recommend. It just allows you to feel a little more at ease with a lens around you, something we both worried about, but also lets you build up a rapport with your photographer.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR
This was for me was the most important, I wanted to create some sort of naturally abundant floral scene with the top table nearly resembling some sort of living garland. The Barn at Cantley House Hotel was so very stunning it did not need a great deal to punctuate its beauty. However with the help of many fairy lights, tealights and the most fantastic foliage and roses it looked incredibly effective. As inspiration had derived from a very floral theme, with scented herbs, pretty delicate flowers and lush green foliage our wedding favours were packets of wild flower seeds and our stationery all accented with a pretty floral designs. We have both grown up with a huge focus on greenery and the outdoors so it was integral we incorporated this somehow.
Our honeymoon is still a little unknown as we are due to book something later in the year, however we found a treehouse located in the Netherby Estate, Carlisle and this became our romantic escape. It was a real treehouse! Totally off grid and positioned just by the river Esk, surrounded by the most amazing amount of sheep. It was perfect to indulge in such escapism but also a romantic adventure. On the way home we spent some time in the lake district exploring Windermere and the hidden lake views positioned around it.
I think the moment I will forever look back on is just as we arrived at the church my Dad told me the most ridiculously cheesy joke, something along the lines of focus on “aisle altar hymn,” as a bride once recited this on her way to the aisle…get it? Well, the vicar in his address to the church told the same joke and I caught Dad’s eye, immediately I giggled and so did he. All nerves varnished!
That said, there was something quite magical dancing barefoot with Craig into the early hours of the morning, splashes of red wine down my dress whoops, and all of our worries melting away into a blissfully happy and surreal bubble.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES
Make sure you make time for yourself as a Bride and Groom, initially we got so caught up in the whirlwind of planning we lost sight of what we really wanted. I got so caught up obsessing over minutiae to a point of losing sleep, everything a bride must not do! But I soon came to realise everyone in that one spaces loves and cherishes us and everything else seemed not to matter! I think our number one tip is to make sure that your decisions reflect what you truly want and you find time to celebrate how very magical it all is, as the memories you make are yours forever and should be guided by you. Also trust your suppliers! We found some truly perfect and talented people and they made our day what it was.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Make Up Artist & Hair Stylist
Laure de Sagazan
The White Horse Flower Company
What an utterly fabulously day you had Craig and Ellie! Thank you ever so much for sharing everything with us today. Rachel x